- Ontario reports more than 700 new COVID-19 cases for 5th straight day.
- Limit on gatherings dropping to five people in Winnipeg area.
- B.C. confirms its first case of childhood inflammatory syndrome linked to COVID-19.
- WHO study casts doubt on remdesivir’s benefits.
- Germany surpasses 7,000 daily new cases for the first time.
- Melbourne, Australia, marks 100th day of one of the world’s longest pandemic shutdowns.
Ontario reported more than 700 new COVID-19 cases for the fifth straight day on Friday, and said another region will move into a modified Stage 2 with more restrictions.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province had another 712 new infections, marking a decrease from the 783 cases logged a day earlier. The daily number of infections remained above the 700 mark all week, with 807 cases on Monday, 746 on Tuesday and 721 on Wednesday.
There are 261 people hospitalized, 67 of them in intensive care, 36 of those on a ventilator.
Last Saturday, the province imposed new restrictions in three hot spots: Ottawa, Toronto and Peel Region. As of Friday, residents of long-term care homes in those regions are not allowed to go out for social or personal reasons.
On Friday, Premier Doug Ford announced that York Region, which is dealing with a surge in new COVID-19 cases, will join those regions in moving into a modified version Stage 2.
WATCH | Ontario tightens rules for York Region:
That means that gyms, indoor dining rooms and movie theatres will be closed in the region. The changes will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday and stay in place for at least 28 days.
The province also announced work with businesses and the manufacturing sector to expand production of domestic personal protective equipment (PPE). Greenfield Global is investing $75 million at its facility in Johnstown, Ont., to produce medical-grade alcohol used to make hand sanitizers in Ontario.
The Ontario government is investing $2.5 million through the Ontario Together Fund in support of this project.
Meanwhile, Quebec reported 1,055 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 more deaths on Friday, one of which occurred in the last 24 hours. Since the start of the pandemic, 6,018 people in the province have died.
There are 507 people in hospital, including 87 in intensive care.
Tightened restrictions imposed earlier this month in the greater Montreal and Quebec City areas, as well as the Chaudière-Appalaches region south of the provincial capital, are to last until at least Oct. 28.
But Premier François Legault said it’s “likely” some of the stricter rules will last longer in those regions.
Bars, casinos, concert halls, cinemas, museums and libraries are shuttered, and restaurants are limited to takeout.
Private gatherings are prohibited, and people cannot have any visitors from another address at their homes, with few exceptions.
Legault said he hopes Quebecers will be able to see their friends and families at Christmas.
“It’s too early to say what form that might take, but it won’t be large gatherings.”
Legault said Halloween is a go for trick-or-treaters, as long as children stay with the people they live with. Parties, however, are out.
WATCH | Latest COVID-19 restrictions paying off, Legault says:
Meanwhile, Manitoba said the limit on gatherings will drop to five people in the Winnipeg area for two weeks starting Monday, following several days of record-breaking case counts.
The 75 new cases the province reported on Friday ended a three-day streak of triple-digit increases. The Winnipeg health region had 63 of those new cases.
The percentage of people testing positive has jumped sharply in recent days. On Friday, the overall test positivity rate in the province was 5.2 per cent, and 6.8 per cent in the Winnipeg metropolitan region.
In addition to the smaller limit on gatherings, Manitoba’s chief public health officer also said Winnipeg-area stand-alone nightclubs, bars and beverage rooms will be closed, as will casinos, video lottery lounges and bingo halls.
WATCH | How one Manitoba gathering led to 40 cases:
In Ottawa, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says the government knows of 209 active COVID-19 cases in Indigenous communities — the highest figure to date.
Miller says that number may seem small in the context of 20,000 active cases nationally, but he calls it “alarming.”
“Every active case that starts spreading in a community requires a huge mobilization that [it] wouldn’t necessarily in an urban centre,” he said. “So, there is a very real and present logistical challenge.”
Heading into winter, 144 mobile structures have been procured for communities where overcrowding is a concern. Miller says they have inserts that can provide warmth down to –40 C.
“It’s not obviously ideal — it’s not even ideal during the summer — but we are moving to ensure that we do have the capacity to deal with those acute situations.”
Miller said Indigenous communities in the United States have been hit about three-and-a-half times harder than their non-Indigenous counterparts. But in Canada, the COVID-19 rate during the first wave was a third of that of non-Indigenous Canadians.
WATCH | Remote First Nation community dealing with quarantine challenges:
What’s happening across Canada
As of 4 p.m. ET on Friday, Canada had 193,619 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 163,280 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 9,721.
New Brunswick continues to try to contain two ongoing outbreaks, one in Moncton and the other in Campbellton. The province announced no new cases Thursday for the first time since Oct. 4 but reported another five cases on Friday, all in the Campbellton region.
The province has 92 active cases.
In the rest of the so-called Atlantic bubble, Nova Scotia reported one new case Friday, and Newfoundland and Labrador reported three. P.E.I. has not made any announcements.
WATCH | WestJet slashes routes in Atlantic bubble:
Saskatchewan reported 33 new cases and 16 new recoveries on Thursday, bringing the total known active cases in the province to 271.
Alberta reported 244 new cases on Thursday, as well as one more death. The latest death is a man in his 80s who is linked to the outbreak at Millwoods Shepherd’s Care Centre in Edmonton. The outbreak has seen 60 residents and 31 staff test positive for COVID-19, with eight of the residents dying.
In British Columbia, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 142 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths. Her update also included the first confirmed case of multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), a rare condition found in children that has been linked to COVID-19 through laboratory tests. “The child is fully recovered,” Henry said.
In the Northwest Territories, one person from Inuvik and two from Yellowknife have received presumptive positive COVID-19 tests. Follow-up tests will be done by the territory’s partner public health laboratory in Edmonton.
WATCH | Costco executives mistakenly given quarantine exemption, Ottawa says:
What’s happening around the world
According to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 39.1 million. More than 1.1 million people have died, while more than 26.9 million have recovered.
Gilead Sciences has questioned the findings of a World Health Organization (WHO) study that concluded that its COVID-19 drug remdesivir does not help patients who have been admitted to hospital.
The American company told Reuters the data appeared inconsistent, the findings were premature and that other studies had validated the drug’s benefits.
In a blow to one of the few drugs being used to treat people with COVID-19, the WHO said its “Solidarity” trial had concluded that remdesivir appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or length of hospital stays among patients with the respiratory disease.
WATCH | Remdesivir has little effect on COVID-19 mortality, says expert:
Germany has confirmed more than 7,000 new coronavirus infections for the first time, its second consecutive daily record.
The Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s national disease control centre, said early Friday that 7,334 new cases were confirmed in the previous 24 hours. That compares with 6,638 a day earlier.
Until this week, Germany’s highest recorded figure was nearly 6,300 in late March, though testing has expanded vastly since then. Figures tend to peak around the end of the week, but the latest reading underlines a sharp upward trend in recent weeks.
Earlier this week, the federal and state governments agreed to toughen mask-wearing rules and make bars close early in areas where infections are high.
Coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic have set a new one-day record for the second straight day.
Health Ministry figures show the day-to-day increase reached 9,721 on Thursday, 177 more than the previous record set a day earlier.
WATCH | Virus not spreading equally across Europe, WHO says:
The nation of more than 10 million has had a total of 149,010 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Almost 50,000 of them were registered last week. It has also seen 1,230 deaths.
The Czech military will start building a field hospital at Prague’s exhibition centre over the weekend for 500 patients. A similar plan is ready for the second largest city of Brno, while the government is negotiating with neighbouring Germany and some other countries for Czechs to be treated there if the local health system is overwhelmed.
Australia‘s largest city, Sydney, lifted quarantine restrictions on travellers from New Zealand on Friday while the second largest city, Melbourne, marked the 100th day of one of the world’s longest pandemic lockdowns.
More than 350 passengers are scheduled to take three flights from Auckland on Friday and will not have to undergo hotel quarantine on arrival in Sydney.
New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said: “This is great news for tourism. It’s also great news for family reunification and grateful businesses.”
New Zealand will continue to insist that travellers from Australia quarantine in hotels for 14 days on arrival.
The Victoria state government has resisted pressure from businesses and the federal government to relax a second lockdown that began when stay-at-home orders took effect in Melbourne on July 9.
Victoria recorded only two new COVID-19 cases in the latest 24-hour period. The state last recorded such a low number on June 8, with daily tallies peaking at 725 on Aug. 5.